independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Gatland blasts Wood 'mé féiner' mentality

Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland

Lions coach Warren Gatland has reignited the year's biggest rugby controversy by labelling his former Ireland captain Keith Wood as a "mé féiner" in an astonishing attack.

Wood criticised Gatland for his omission of Brian O'Driscoll for the Lions' third and decisive Test against Australia this summer, calling the decision a terrible mistake and decrying the style of rugby played by the tourists.

"With regard to Keith Wood, I think he's let himself down basically," said Gatland in a question and answer session with Welsh rugby supporters.

"That's for him to have to deal with. I think some of the things he said were a little bit... rather than respect that coaches make decisions he's gone and made it a little bit personal. That's probably a reflection of him as an individual. The Irish have a great saying – 'he's a mé féiner'. That probably sums him up."

Wood told the Irish Independent in August that he stood by his comments, despite receiving abuse from Welsh supporters for his stance.

"It went slightly mad actually," he said. "My reaction was very simple. In my view, it jeopardised the chances of winning. As it happened, it became a moot point. People took it as being anti-Welsh, which it wasn't. I'm not stepping back from any of my comments. I was very disappointed.

"Welsh people still ask me will I change my mind. I still feel it. And the fact that they won, doesn't matter really. You don't have to conform to everyone's opinion.

"Was Warren vindicated for winning the series? Yes, he was and I said that. But as for what it meant for the Lions, I wasn't too sure."

O'Driscoll subsequently revealed that he resented Gatland's decision.

"I guess the way the team played, I felt that I might have been able to do a decent job, the way they played in that game," he said.

"What should have probably been one of the greatest achievements in my career hasn't, unfortunately, turned out to be that case."

Gatland arrives in Ireland today on a short visit and he will be a guest of Ryan Tubridy on tonight's 'Late Late Show'.

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